'Clearer plans' needed to tackle the 'catastrophic harm' of climate change

5 June 2019, 06:00

Climate Change Demo 1

The Scottish Government needs to put clearer plans in place for every sector to tackle the "catastrophic harm" being done the environment.

That was the message from Gillian Martin, the convener of Holyrood's Environment Committee after ministers updated plans to tackle what Nicola Sturgeon has branded a "climate emergency".

In the wake of new advise from the UK Climate Change Committee (CCC), Scottish ministers set the goal of having "net-zero" greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.

They also pledged set tougher targets in Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill, aiming for a 70% reduction in emissions by 2030, and a 90% reduction by 2040.

Members of the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee welcomed the changes.

But in a report published ahead of detailed scrutiny of amendments to the Bill, they said ministers from each Scottish Government department should give a statement to Holyrood on the contribution of each portfolio area.

They also called for more details from the government on plans for public engagement and awareness raising of the changes that will be needed.

The MSPs said there was "compelling evidence of the need for a change in social norms", adding that there should be "positive messaging, framing this in terms of the benefits of action and co-benefits in terms of health, wellbeing, the economy and the environment".

Ms Martin said: "The climate emergency is real and the stark fact is that we have to take urgent action in the short term in order to address global warming.

"Our Committee welcomes the Scottish Government's swift response to the CCC's report and the commitment that Scotland will play its part in tackling it.

"While the targets are challenging we need to focus on the opportunities and benefits of early action and we need to support those most impacted in making the transition.

"This is why we have called for a higher level of ambition across all sectors and for clearer plans to be put in place for every sector so we ensure that our generation can address the catastrophic harm being done to our natural environment."